Have a Plant: Fruits & Veggies for Better Health

Insider’s Viewpoint: Show Your Heart Some Love by Eating the Mediterranean Way

Insider's Viewpoint: Show Your Heart Some Love by Eating the Mediterranean Way. Fruits And Veggies More Matters.org

You may be familiar with the Mediterranean diet, which is a way of eating based on traditional foods and cooking methods of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Health and wellness experts have been supporting this heart-healthy way of eating for years and the benefits have been widely researched, supported and shown to reduce cardiovascular disease risk and improve aging, memory, and quality of life.

The Basics of the Mediterranean Diet

  • Minimally processed foods
  • Mostly plant-based
  • Rich in monounsaturated fats
  • Emphasis on fish & shellfish

Components of the Mediterranean Diet

  • Generous amounts of fruits and vegetables every day (think more matters)
  • Whole grains and legumes
  • Fish or shellfish at least twice a week
  • Healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil
  • Herbs and spices rather than salt to flavor foods
  • Small portions of nuts and seeds
  • Small portions of red meat on special occasions
  • Red wine in moderation (optional)*
  • Be physically active
  • Enjoy meals with others

* Dietary Guidelines for Americans states moderate alcohol consumption is defined as having up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men.

Heart-Smart Food Choices

  • Fruits & Vegetables – aim for at least 5 servings per day
  • Seeds & Nuts – aim for a small serving of nuts every day
  • Flax Seed – one tablespoon of ground flax seed/day (Omega 3’s)
  • Oatmeal – a good source of fiber, aim for 25 grams of fiber daily
  • Salmon & Tuna – a good source of heart-healthy Omega 3 fats
  • Whole Grain Bread & Cereals – make sure the label does not say “Enriched” or “Bleached”
  • Lean Meats & Poultry – chicken, turkey and wild game such as venison and buffalo are all low in saturated fats
  • Skim Milk – choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products
  • Legumes – the insoluble fiber in legumes helps to lower blood cholesterol
  • Foods prepared with Herbs & Spices (rather than salt)

Recipe

Mediterranean Salad

Time to Prepare: 15 minutes (additional 30 minutes to chill)
Number of Servings: 4


Ingredients

  • 2 cups tuna, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 12 roasted cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • ½ 15oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¾ cup crumbled feta
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. low sodium Greek Seasoning
  • ¼ cup olive oil

Directions

  1. Combine the tuna, cucumber, red bell pepper, tomatoes, red onion, garbanzo beans and feta in a large bowl.
  2. In a separated bowl combine vinegar, seasoning and olive oil. Whisk together until combined.
  3. Toss dressing with salad.
  4. Let flavors merge for 30 minutes or more in the refrigerator.


Tips

  • Serve with whole grain bread or crackers on the side.
  • You can substitute canned chicken for the tuna.
  • If you cannot find Greek seasoning, use Greek oregano.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving):
Calories: 340, Protein: 22gm, Total Carbohydrates: 17gm, Fiber: 3.3gm
Total Fat: 21gm, Cholesterol: 52mg, Sodium: 597mg

Hope Danielson
Director of Health and Wellness
County Market

Melanie Kluzek
Registered Dietitian
County Market
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